Booze, Bourbon, Enjoyment

I Love Bourbon: Especially Pappy Van Winkle

2 Comments 28 May 2010

By David M. Voth

Three years ago I went on a great trip to Kentucky for the sole purpose of visiting bourbon distilleries. The trip was the idea of a friend of mine who had been enjoying bourbon for longer than I had. Up until the trip I primarily drank Jack Daniel’s, a Tennessee whiskey, which I still enjoy. However, going to the Kentucky bourbon trail opened my taste buds to flavors I had never experienced before. Following the trip I started to experiment by buying different bourbons at the liquor store and getting familiar with the many different brands. Today I now have a far greater appreciation for bourbon, the great American spirit. Bourbon is now my favorite whiskey.

If you’re not familiar with bourbon, it is an American whiskey, made primarily from corn and named for Bourbon County, Kentucky.

On May 4, 1964, the United States Congress recognized Bourbon Whiskey as a “distinctive product of the United States.” The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (27 C.F.R. 5.22) state that bourbon must meet these requirements:

• Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.
• Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
• Neither coloring nor flavoring may be added.
• Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.
• Bourbon must be entered into the barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
• Bourbon, like other whiskeys, may not be bottled at less than 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume.)
• Bourbon which meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years, may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.
• Straight Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging.
• If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the youngest whiskey in the bottle.

In practice, almost all bourbons marketed today are made from more than two-thirds corn, have been aged at least four years, and do qualify as “straight bourbon”—with or without the “straight bourbon” label. The exceptions are inexpensive commodity brands of bourbon aged only three years and pre-mixed cocktails made with straight bourbon aged the minimum two years. However, a few small distilleries market bourbons aged for as little as three months.

Over the next weeks and months I will feature short articles on all of the bourbons I now enjoy, presented one at a time. In the past three years, I’ve come to appreciate 19 different bourbons. I still have a bunch to go before I can say I’ve tasted them all. Now I’m quick to tell you, I’m no expert, so I’m just going to tell you about the ones I like, because I like it, not because you should, too. You’ll have to decide for yourself. However I welcome comments to each article.

Now the first one… The finest bourbon I have even tasted is, without a doubt, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve – 20 years old. This whiskey is so smooth and rich at first you might think you’re drink something other than Kentucky bourbon. There really is nothing quite like it. You can’t really compare it to any other whiskey, although I have heard others try when attempting to explain the complex flavor. I’ll warn you though, drink a bottle and you’ll be hooked. The downside is that it’s almost impossible to get your hands on a bottle because it’s so rare. Followed by the fact that a bottle will set you back over $100.

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve – 20 years old
This is the #1 Rated Bourbon Whiskey in the World
Rated 99 out of 100 by the World’s Spirits Championships

Our ‘Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve’ is aged an unheard of 20 years, and bottled at 45.2 apy (90.4 proof). This whiskey is wonderfully smooth and rich. No other bourbon today can stand 20 years of aging, but this bourbon does it with style. My grandfather, ‘Pappy Van Winkle’ was a true character. This bourbon, like ‘Pappy,’ is full of the character that makes it a very special whiskey. It, too, has been put in a class of a fine after dinner cognac.
Rated 99 —
Beverage Tasting Institute

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. If you get a chance, expand your palate and try the Pappy Van Winkle 23-yr. It is even better than the 20-yr!

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